By Sanjeeb Kuamr Sahoo

I would like to congratulate the Election Commission of India (ECI), the Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh State Election Commissions, and all officials responsible for conducting free and fair elections in Karnataka, Punjab, Odisha, and Meghalaya, as well as urban local body elections in Uttar Pradesh and Shimla Municipal Corporation.

In this edition, my team focused solely on the recent assembly elections in Karnataka, the elections for urban local bodies in Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh, and the byelections in Odisha, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, and Meghalaya. It was possible because reporters of local Hindi newspapers who covered the Uttar Pradesh Urban Local body elections allowed us to write a comprehensive story about the winners of the Mayorship and helped us with information related to other candidates. We appreciate their work as no English-language newspaper had given enough space, barely 200-300 word stories, in their editions.

During our research on the Uttar Pradesh Local Body Elections, we discovered that there are many politicians with strong mass connections. However, these candidates from the Congress, BJP, Samajwadi Party, BSP, and even Independent remained unnoticed despite receiving an unexpectedly large number of votes in the elections.Seeing their performance in the local body elections and their mass connect, I am of the view that political parties should give these candidates a chance in the upcoming 2024 Lok Sabha elections. This will also allow them to remove non-performing Lok Sabha MPs, especially those who do not interact with voters and are missing from their parliamentary constituencies.

Let’s talk a little bit about dropping voter turnout during elections. The main reason I learned about it is that candidates stop showing up after winning elections and remain missing from their constituencies. This leads to a disconnect between a candidate and voters, which is why voter turnout has declined significantly over the past few years. You can find out everything you need to know about these polls and candidates in the article.

For the benefit of parties, cadres, and voters, I believe that political parties should not nominate lawyers and businessmen to the Rajya Sabha, but rather mass leaders from rural areas who have the ability to draw crowds and convert votes for their parties. The issue is that mass leaders lack the financial resources to contest in Lok Sabha and Assembly elections, whereas lawyers and businessmen do. Lawyers have no time for party cadres. They do not even travel to the states they represent in the Rajya Sabha because they spend their days in court and evenings in chambers studying their clients’ files, whereas businessmen spend their time in stores or offices.

Once they ( lawyers and businessmen) get elected to the Rajya Sabha from certain states, they barely have time to talk to party members because they are confident enough to think that the party will nominate them again while they take care of legal problems for their parties.

Also, as Lok Sabha and Assembly memberships aren’t permanent, I think if once these lawyers and businessmen are voted to Lok Sabha, they would take their jobs seriously and spend time with the people who work for their parties. Many such lawyers, who were previously Rajya Sabha members and are now nominated to the Lok Sabha, have started visiting their constituencies frequently as they know if they do not, voters will teach them a lesson in the next election. I am not taking names here, but I know our readers are smart enough to figure it out themselves.

The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) in a tweet compared the shape of the new Parliament building to that of a coffin. This is a new low, and RJD Chief Lalu Prasad Yadav should tender an unconditional apology as the tweet was made from the party’s official Twitter handle. Instead of demeaning the new Parliament building, RJD should have sent a congratulatory message to the Prime Minister on the inauguration of the new House.

If the party was to attack the Government, It could have posed questions over unemployment and other basic needs of the people as the NDA Govt. under Narendra Modi completed nine years in the office.
However, the party has no moral ground to attack the Government as Lalu Prasad Yadav and Rabri Devi ruled Bihar for 15 years and what they did with the state is not hidden from anyone.

We have to be patient and wait for our turn for good things to happen, so I believe that whenever the Congress party does well strategically, the party either intentionally or unintentionally makes mistakes. Recently, the party held press conferences in its headquarters as well as across 35 cities in the country to highlight the “failures” of the Narendra Modi government over the last nine years. ‘Nau Saal, Nau Sawaal’ (nine years, nine questions) was the theme of the conference. Even though it is an outstanding strategy for connecting with electors, I did not understand the party’s idea of putting a small image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi alongside with a giant image of the country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on its official Twitter account, reading, “No matter how hard you try.”

However, the people took it differently and It may hurt the party’s electoral prospects in upcoming polls. I am sure Prime Minister Modi will not let go of this opportunity and will make it the most important political issue in the upcoming assembly and 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

In the meantime, there will be political disagreements, but skipping the eighth meeting of the Governing Council of NITI Aayog in Delhi, which was presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, by Chief ministers of 10 states from the Opposition parties was totally uncalled for. The chief ministers who skipped the meeting were Delhi’s Arvind Kejriwal, Punjab’s Bhagwant Mann, Nitish Kumar from Bihar, Mamata Banerjee from West Bengal, Rajasthan’s Ashok Gehlot, Telangana’s K Chandrasekhar Rao, Odisha’s Naveen Patnaik, Tamil Nadu’s MK Stalin, Kerala’s Pinarayi Vijayan and Karnataka’s Siddaramaiah.

Lastly, about nine years of the Narendra Modi government, I believe it will take at least nine days to study and write about it because nine years of success or failure can’t be decided in nine minutes of video or nineteen minutes of debate. In the following issue, we plan on writing on 100 powerful politicians of the country or analyse 3,285 days of the Narendra Modi led BJP government. If we fail to deliver these stories for some reason, we will explore some other fascinating stories suited to our readers’ taste.

Note: On May 28 , 2023, this piece was originally printed in a weekly magazine of National Political Mirror.

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